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Thread: How to tell if Flour is bad?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    pacific northwest
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    How to tell if Flour is bad?

    My MIL has asked me how to tell if the King Arthur flour she bought last winter is still good, even though it's past the sell by date. She didn't realize she could put it in the freezer so it's been kept in their basement (cool). It's unbleached but I don't think that would affect it's preservation (or lack of).

    Would old flour just not rise as well (protein network breaks down)? If it were me I'd just use it but I was hoping to give MIL a more definitive answer.

    Kim

  2. #2

    Cool

    I didn't even know flour HAD sell-by dates.

    Back in the Stone Age, before products had such things as expiration or sell-by dates, we used our flour until it either smelled rancid or developed creepie-crawlies. Frankly, if old flour ever had any adverse effects on my baking, I sure didn't notice...

    Edited to add that my Food Lover's Tiptionary recommends keeping flour up to six months at a cold temperature (or frozen) otherwise it may become rancid or develop bugs. Doesn't say a thing about performance of old flour which looks and smells okay, though...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Ontario
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    2,199
    Flour that's kept too long goes rancid, freezing or cold temperatures will slow down the process but won't stop it, it's an oxidative process caused by exposure to air.

    Rancid flour smells like paint. I've smelled it but have never tasted it so can't say what it tastes like.

  4. #4
    Originally posted by Middydd
    Flour that's kept too long goes rancid, freezing or cold temperatures will slow down the process but won't stop it, it's an oxidative process caused by exposure to air.

    Rancid flour smells like paint. I've smelled it but have never tasted it so can't say what it tastes like.
    It tastes exactly like it smells.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Marietta, Ga
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    7,693
    I've never had bad flour, but my SIL made the mistake of using some flour from a cansiter on my Dad's kitchen counter. She subsequently tossed all his flour.

    ....It was some that my mom purchased long before she got cancer so it was probably 6 or 7 years old (at the minimum). Dad didn't even know that container held self-rising flour.

    Leigh
    "Mommy, Can we Please, Please, Please have spinach for dinner?" DD2(age 6)

  6. #6

    Cool

    Leigh,

    Is a cansiter something that tends cans?

    Sorry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    786
    Bad flour has bugs.
    Work is the ruin of the drinking classes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    pacific northwest
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    4,065
    Okay thanks. I'll tell her if it doesn't smell rancid (or have bugs!) then use it. I think she was afriad it wouldn't work as well - she's a very novice bread machine user and is intimidated by the whole fabulous process.

    Kim

  9. #9
    I don;t think bugs are related to flour going bad. I opened a BRAND NEW bag of flour and there were bugs crawling all in it.
    Maria

  10. #10

    Cool

    While bugs in your flour may not be indicative of the age of the flour, it's an obvious red light that there's some sort of problem. (unless you go for that certain je ne sais quoi in your foods )According to Food Lover's Tiptionary, the presence of bugs or mold in flour suggests that the flour has been stored at too high a temperature (above 75 F)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Marietta, Ga
    Posts
    7,693
    Originally posted by Gail
    Leigh,

    Is a cansiter something that tends cans?

    Sorry.
    Um....Yes!

    Leigh
    "Mommy, Can we Please, Please, Please have spinach for dinner?" DD2(age 6)

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